Students ‘kick butts’ to spread message
Appeal Staff Writer
The falling BBs clicked as they dropped into a plastic container, each BB representing one death caused daily in the United States by a tobacco-related disease.
Students in sixth-grade health tried to guess the number, but it took a few tries to come to 1,293.
“I’ve never smoked,” said 12-year-old health student Brianna Cruz. “I never will. It can kill me and it’s not worth it.”
She and her classmates at Dayton Intermediate School were visited by six middle school students from the Dayton and Silver City groups of YETI, Youth Educating on Tobacco Issues, during National Kick Butts Day.
The day was started in 1995 by The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to spread its message of tobacco control and prevention.
The presentations Wednesday were the first given by YETI students who organized in the past year with funding from the Lyon and Story County Healthy Communities Coalition, which targets poverty and abuse issues. Less than a week ago, they received training from a member of the American Lung Association. Kelly Kotik, 12, from the Silver City YETI group, explained that her grandparents who died from tobacco use and her family members who were trying to stop smoking were her incentive for membership.
“I wanted to join to help them stop and help other people before they get started,” she said.
Silver City YETI student Zach Drum, went over a list of chemicals found in cigarettes and listed the products they were in, including arsenic in rat poisoning, methanol in gas additives and acetone in nail polish.
“That’s nasty that they put that in cigarettes,” said Brianna. “That’s gross, especially the nail polish remover – that’s for removing nail polish.”
“I just didn’t know those chemicals could be in cigarettes and it surprised me very much,” said student Matt Kelley, 12.
All of the students saw a pink pair of healthy lungs and a pair of diseased lungs with several tumors and holes representative of emphysema.
Each pair hung from tubes, and YETI students pumped air into them to demonstrate how well they worked. The lungs were mock replicas made from pigs’ lungs, which are similar to humans’. Matt said they had the most impact.
“It showed what your lungs would look like when you smoke and what it looks like when you try to breathe with them,” he said.
He plans to tell his smoking relatives about the presentation.
“When they smoke, it shortens their life,” he said. “And I don’t want them to die any sooner than they should.”
• Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Kick Butts Day
Causes of U.S. deaths daily:
Tobacco-related illnesses: 1,293
Illegal drug use: 16
Car accidents: 69
Alcohol-related illnesses: 508
– Source: American